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Pasco County Commission ready to extend county administrator's contract

Longtime Pasco County Administrator John Gallagher wants to stay on board for at least two more years.

Commissioners appear ready to give him the contract extension he'll need to do that.

Gallagher's contract, which expired Wednesday, will be up for discussion at Tuesday's commission meeting in Dade City.

Gallagher, 62, has been county administrator since 1982 and earns $180,700 annually. He said Thursday he'll ask for a two-year extension plus the option for a two-year renewal.

Last year he first indicated to commissioners he hoped to put off retirement amid a reorganization of county government and the anticipated departure of many of his long-serving department heads.

"It's about getting the organization in the right place it needs to be," Gallagher said Thursday.

Three commissioners — a majority of the board — interviewed Thursday said they supported keeping Gallagher.

"To me, that's good news," said Commissioner Michael Cox. "It'd be a sad day the day John says, 'I want to retire.' "

Commissioner Ann Hildebrand said it was important to keep a seasoned hand amid a time of change. In addition to the reorganization initiative, the county is rewriting its land use ordinances and dealing with unprecedented budget challenges.

"He's really needed as our county administrator, and I'm very pleased he wants to do that," she said. "I think he does a phenomenal job."

Commissioner Ted Schrader said he expected Gallagher wanted to see through some of his goals, including progress on the town centers he's championed and the arrival of financial firm T. Rowe Price.

"I'm sure there's going to be a time when John is confident he can move on to other things," Schrader said. "It's just not right now."

Jodie Tillman can be reached at jtillman@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6247.

If you go

Contract on agenda

The contract of longtime Pasco County Administrator John Gallagher will be up for discussion at Tuesday's commission meeting, scheduled for 10 a.m. at the historic courthouse in Dade City.

Pasco County Commission ready to extend county administrator's contract 10/01/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 1, 2009 7:51pm]
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